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The History of the - Four Way Test


April 1, 2015

The history of the Four Way Test comes out of the Great Depression. In 1932, Herbert J. Taylor was asked to take over a struggling company, The Club Aluminum Company. The company owed $400.000 more than its total assets. Some banker had lent them $6,100 which was their only operating capital. Taylor responded to the challenge. He thought about what principles should guide the company. He came up with the Four Way Test. Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships and Is it beneficial to all concerned? Taylor checked these principals with his four department heads, one of whom was a Catholic, one a Presbyterian, one was a Christian Scientist and one was an Orthodox Jew. They all agreed on the principles. They applied it to all the decisions that they made in marketing, in dealing with customers and employees. By 1937, they had paid off all their debts and for the next fifteen years they distributed a million dollars in dividends and had a net worth of $1,750,000. When Rotary adopted the test, people knew that they could trust a business own and run by Rotarians because they operated within the Four Way Test. Each year Rotary clubs throughout the nation have Four Way Test Speech Contests to pass these principles on to the next generation.

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)


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